Corporate Eye

Early Adopters Have Significant Influence on Brand Success

Ad_age_yahoo_early_adopters_reportA new white paper from Advertising Age (sponsored by Yahoo!) called Shiny New Thing: What Digital Adopters Want, How to Reach Them, and Why Every Marketer Should Pay Attention reinforces the idea that people who are quick to try new brands, products, and services, are influential both online and offline.

The statistics for early adopters tell us:

  • 62% of early adopters are more likely to upgrade a mobile phone as soon as a new model becomes available.
  • 68% are more likely to have purchased three or more computers in the past two years.
  • 58% are more likely to have purchased three or more flat-screen TV’s in the past two years.

Not only are they quick to try new products and brands in the technology industry, as revealed in the statistics above, but they’re also more likely to talk about those products and brands on the social Web where many early adopters have established followers.  That means the opinions of early adopters can be very influential on a broad scale.

In other words, the opinions of early adopter are no longer confined to the neighborhood or office.  Today, early adopters are vocal about their opinions and they share them freely using the tools of the social Web such as Twitter and Facebook.

As the Advertising Age report reminds us, “early adopters sway the early majority, and those groups can account for half of a new product’s sales.”  Clearly, this is a group that you want to connect with on a positive level, and what better place to find them and build relationships with them than on the social Web?  If early adopters can talk about your brand and products online, thereby influencing a large audience of consumers, then you can use the social Web to influence early adopters.  However, your influence should be indirect.  Strong arming people with sales messages on the social Web is a surefire route to disaster.  Instead, be patient, build relationships, and your efforts should be rewarded with brand advocacy in the future.

The Advertising Age report also reminds us of the three motivating factors that define early adopters, which you can use to help you find early adopters on the social Web and more effectively communicate with them in a language and style they’ll respond to positively:

  • They aren’t afraid to take risks.
  • They enjoy gathering and sharing information.
  • They like to research products and tell other people what to buy.
  • They are status seekers.

While the Advertising Age report focused on technology early adopters, the lessons can apply to most industries.  This is a customer group that bores quickly and is constantly looking for the next great thing.  The worst thing you could do is ignore them.  Instead, you need to deliver great products, earn a solid brand reputation, and build positive relationships with them.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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